County commissioners approve 2008 road plan

Monday, January 14, 2008

With a dozen easements still in question, Cape Girardeau County commissioners approved the 2008 road paving plan on Monday.

Most of the same roads were put out for bids last fall, but companies did not respond. Some said they did not do the type of work the county wanted. Other said they would not be able to complete work by the Dec. 15 deadline, certain that weather would disrupt progress.

On Monday, after reviewing a list of nearly 20 miles of road slated for paving, commissioners again worried about timing.

Commissioner Jay Purcell convinced Associate Commissioner Larry Bock and Presiding Commissioner Gerald Jones to see Thursday as the deadline for having a new request for bids.

The road work will be paid for by a half-cent sales tax approved by voters in August 2006. The tax also funds law enforcement projects.

In order to save money, the County Road and Bridge Advisory Board suggested using a paving method called chip and seal on nearly 12 miles of road. Chip and seal is a combination of rock and asphalt, used to reduce road dust. It costs less than traditional asphalt paving and is less smooth, but tends to be more flexible in an unstable environment. The areas slated for this type of paving are sections of County Roads 316, 422, 425, 439, 440, 273, 380 and 522.

Commissioners also approved traditional asphalt paving for County Roads 324, 327, 419, 607, 244, 512, 411, 412, 435 and 436, nearly nine miles of roadway in all. Those roads already have some asphalt paving.

Purcell said the projects would only be approved "provided those easements are signed."

Scott Bechtold, county highway administrator, was busy Monday afternoon checking out rock choices for the chip and seal projects. He said the county wants harder rocks for a more resilient road surface. The timeline to be included in the request for bids will be decided at the commissioner's Thursday meeting, he said.

pmcnichol@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 127

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